June 25, 2009

Stephen Wolfram, developer of Mathematica, has designed a new Web tool called Wolfram│Alpha.  Although its interface looks like a search engine, Wolfram│Alpha is actually a computational knowledge engine.  Search engines, like Google, search the Web and list links as results.   Wolfram│Alpha produces results by making computations from its own knowledge base. 

Clicking on the sample topics links will give you ideas of how to use this tool in areas like mathematics, engineering, dates & times, money & finance, and unit & measures.  You can enter math problems, ask for conversions, compare stocks, produce a world map with life expectancies, assess the per capita income of Brooking County, etc.  Wolfram│Alpha has a blog, a community site, and a quick video overview to help users get started.

The producers of Wolfram│Alpha plan to expand its capacities in the future.  Their ambitious “long-term goal is to make all systematic knowledge immediately computable and accessible to anyone.”  They also see opportunities to develop other forms of their product—to provide professional and corporate applications, to work with an organization’s internal data, and to work with mobile platforms. 

If you have any questions about research please contact a SDSU librarian.  You can contact us in-person at the Information Desk, send an e-mail, a text message, or set up an appointment

 Linda Kott
Information Services Librarian


2009 High School Topic: Poverty

June 16, 2009



Resolved: The United States federal government should substantially increase social services for persons living in poverty in the United States


The 2009 South Dakota High School Debate Camp will soon be underway on the SDSU Campus. The library welcomes all coaches and students in the arts of rhetoric and persuasion! Well, of course the library welcomes all who would seek knowledge (and evidence) within these scholared halls.


The Government Documents Department offers assistance in finding federal and state government information sources on this years high school debate topic: Resolved: The United States federal government should substantially increase social services for persons living in poverty in the United States. An online topic guide has been created to identify selected federal and Internet resources available online and through library databases on the topic of poverty in the United States.


The Briggs Library Guide to Government Information provides links to a number of federal, state, local, and international sites for research, including a research guide for Debate Topics. Additional library resources can be accessed from the library homepage including the library catalog and library databases all of which are accessible on the SDSU Campus.


Assistance in using library resources and for Government information sources is available at the Information Desk (main level) and on the lower level of the library in the Documents Office. The library offers free wireless Internet service as well as free Internet access on the public computers. And of course, the library offers free information finding expertise. Just AskUs!


Vickie Mix, Documents Librarian





News and Resources on the Supreme Court Justice nomination

June 1, 2009

In the news…

Supreme Court Justice David Souter has announced his coming retirement.  On May 26, President Obama announced his selection of Sonia Sotomayor to become the newest justice.  Sotomayor now faces hearings in the Senate, which has the authority to either approve or reject Pres. Obama’s nominee.

Here is a selection of resources for further information on this topic:

– For information on Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor: http://www.loc.gov/law/find/sotomayor.php
– For information on the Supreme Court including history, the docket, and opinions: http://www.supremecourtus.gov/
– For online access to the text of Supreme Court Nomination Hearings since 1971: http://www.gpoaccess.gov/congress/senate/judiciary/scourt.html
– For a list of Supreme Court nominees since 1789: http://www.senate.gov/pagelayout/reference/nominations/Nominations.htm
– For information regarding presidential nominations, nominees, and appointments: http://www.senate.gov/reference/Nominations/Index.htm
– For a biographical directory of federal judges since 1789: http://www.fjc.gov/public/home.nsf/hisj

For further information, please ask at the Information Desk or the Government Documents Department. While you are at the library, feel free to check out the displays on the lower level and learn more about our Supreme Court Justices as well as our Justice Department publications.

Laura Plowman, Public Services Library Associate